Roger L. Simon

The Internet Ummah (UPDATED)

The MSM outdid itself in reactionary foolishness this morning, the major papers falling over each, competing to dismiss the recent terror alerts because many of the newly-discovered files instigating these warnings were (alas, alack) three years old. Never mind that one of them had been revised in January 2004. Even if it hadn’t, these faux-progressives of our isolationist press should hang their heads in shame. They barely make an attempt to do their homework, allowing themselves to be uncritical mouthpieces for every disgruntled intelligence agent with a cellphone. Don’t these journalists have children? There’s a war going on. What would they do if charged with the nation’s security and in receipt of this “hoary” three-year old information? Forget about it? Well, Lawrence Wright, in his latest brilliant New Yorker piece sets them straight:

One of the most sobering pieces of information to come out of the investigation of the March 11th bombings [in Spain] is that the planning for the attacks may have begun nearly a year before 9/11.

So much for three years.

But let’s go on to the most fascinating and scary material in Wright’s article — the creation of a virtual ummah for disenfranchised Muslims on the Internet. Just as through the blogosphere every man or woman can now be a pundit, through the Internet a thousand Bin Laden’s are blooming, publishing manifestoes and plotting stratagems. Meanwhile, cyberspace has replaced Afghanistan as Al Qaeda’s training ground. For some the goal is recapturing Al Andalus (Spain or most of it), for others all of Europe is in their sights. And they are talking to each other about it, all the time, everywhere, even this second at an IP near you. Yikes!

Don’t missing reading all of Wright. But don’t expect to sleep easily.

UPDATE: Most readers of this blog will not be shocked to learn the NYT is now changing its tune on the terror warning, telling us there was new material. Unfortunately, much of the public still does not read blogs and believes organs like the NYT literally. They have been trained to do so all their lives. And in situations like this the MSM (and blogs too to a lesser scale) become advertent/inadvertent spokespeople for anonymous leakers with highly personal “issues.” As the playwright said, “Attention must be paid…”